Tree ring analysis of white spruce drought response

Authors: Samantha Jones*, Bemidji State University, Douglas N. Kastendick, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Brian J. Palik, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station
Topics: Natural Resources, Biogeography, Paleoenvironmental Change
Keywords: Dendrochronology, White spruce, Drought response, Thinning
Session Type: Virtual Lightning Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 28
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This study will extend the research on density management approaches using dendrochronological methods to examine the growth responses of managed white spruce (Picea glauca). Silvicultural thinning to reduce forest stand density has demonstrated the potential to mitigate drought impacts in pine-dominated forests, but it remains to be seen if the same response occurs in other important forest types. The white spruce stands in this study are part of a long-term thinning experiment maintained by USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and cooperating agencies. Stands were planted at three sites across northern Minnesota from 1947-1962 and subsequently thinned to maintain study plots at different stocking levels. Measured ring widths from increment core samples collected in 2019 will be combined with long-term data records to assess growth responses to past drought events. Projections for warmer climate conditions do not favor white spruce, one of the most commercially important tree species in Minnesota, the Lake States, and much of Canada. Learning how to adapt the management of this species to expected future droughts to reduce growth reductions could have far-reaching benefits to forest managers across eastern North America.

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